So here it was 6 weeks from our daughters due date, a chilly Saturday night. I remember that Dane Cook was hosting Saturday Night Live for the first time. Rach was lying in the hospital bed in labor, as she was induced by the Doctor. She was in pain all night and I cannot imagine what it was like for her to be so uncomfortable and scared. I tried to be there for her as best as I could. We were both nervous and unsure of really what was happening. It’s not something you can ever prepare for, no matter how many books you read or videos you watch, it’s just a nerve-racking event. Like I said Rach was in labor all night, then the morning came, and she was in labor all morning. They increased the Petosin, the drug that actually induces labor, and the contractions became more frequent. Finally, after many, many hours of pain, and a failed epidural, Rach was ready. Holy crap it was happening. I wish I could say that I remember everything in exact detail, but it was a blur of action. The Doctor, which I must remind you wasn’t our Doctor, was doing her thing and trying to get our baby out. It seemed to be taking forever. I would never say that panic was ever in the Doctors face, but I got the feeling that she was nervous that it was taking too long and I could all of a sudden feel the sense of urgency. Then the doc used a device known as a vacuum, and this was the moment that our lives changed forever. A vacuum extraction was needed to help get Bella out. When she came out I was scared to death, she was not crying initially, but soon after we heard whimpering then crying, so whew everything is ok. Bella weighed 4 pounds 8 ounces, which was super small but not life threatening. They whisked her away and the Doctors worked on Rach to get her all taken of. I honestly cannot say what happened in the next few hours. Bella was in the baby room, getting all of her newborn screenings done, I was talking with my family and Rach was recovering form a very difficult labor. Of course stupid me remembers that the Chiefs were playing the Broncos that day and we won. While Rach was resting I got to go into the baby room and see Bella. She was so tiny and precious. My hand would cover her entire body from the neck down. To me she was beautiful. She was perfect. My gosh, I fell in love. But, I was still a wreck, was I ready for this? Could I do this? A new responsibility that is more important than anything in my life. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was full of doubt.
Rach finally got to see our Bella. She was so elated. I mean the happiest I have ever seen her. It’s hard to put into words how great of a mother Rachel is. She was from the moment she found out she was pregnant.
There was a problem though, a seemingly huge problem that no one told us. A problem that was so glaringly obvious on this perfect, precious, little girl. Our little girl. You see when they do newborn screening they use little pin pricks in the hands and feet to get blood for testing. Poor little Bella had tiny band aids around her hands and feet. When Rach touched them they instantly became blood stained. Bella was bleeding at a very rapid rate from just little needle sticks? What was wrong? No one knew. No one had a definitive answer. The Doctors hypothesized that she since she was premature she was just not clotting yet. Ok makes sense I guess? We were concerned and scared, but I know with 100% certainty that we did not know the magnitude or severity of this bleeding problem. No one did. It would fix itself, the body would eventually catch up they said. We stayed with Bella as long as we could. She did not get to come back into our room with us. She had to stay in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for observation.
So we went back to our room, watched the Transiberian Orchestra on PBS and talked about everything. We expressed concern and confusion over what was happening, but we were still confident that everything was under control and we fell asleep.
I’m not sure of the time, but we were both woken up by the sound of people coming into our room. Bella was with them in one of those little carts that you see the preemies in. You know with the holes for peoples arms to go through. Two of the ladies were dressed very differently. They honestly looked like astronauts in their suits. This was very bizarre to wake up to in the middle of night. I was very disorientated and confused. They went on to tell us that Bella had continued to bleed out and needed to be transported by helicopter to the children’s hospital. What? So these ladies dressed in space suits are taking Bella, by helicopter to Children’s Mercy Hospital? What was happening? Panic set in for both of us, but they assured Rach and I that this was just precautionary and that Children’s Mercy was better suited to handle Bella’s care. So we said our goodbyes to Bella, and off she went for her first ever helicopter ride. Rach and I lay beside each other and I’m not even sure what emotion to use here. We were motionless and speechless and downright scared to death. We had no idea what was going on. We felt so helpless. Fear overcame us. Obviously everything wasn’t alright. Something major was wrong. Several hours passed and then the phone rang. I answered and the lady on the other end introduced herself as a Hematology-Oncology Doctor, I cannot remember her name, but what she said chills me to the bone to this very day.
She said… “If your daughter doesn’t receive a complete blood transfusion, she is going to die.”…